Lisa Kimmel

Chair & CEO, Canada and Chair, Latin America and Global Women's Equality Network (GWEN) at Edelman


Lisa oversees Edelman’s Canadian and Latin American operations, and sits on the firm’s Global Operations Committee. In her role, she provides senior counsel to clients and is responsible for the regions’ growth strategies. In Canada, she has led its strategic evolution to a fully integrated communications firm, resulting in Canada being the best-performing region in the Edelman global network for the past two years. Edelman Canada was recently named Strategy Magazine’s PR Agency of the Year, as well as awarded Cannes Lions for its “In the Head of a Hacker” campaign on behalf of HP and its Bübl fashion campaign on behalf of Osteoporosis Canada.

Best piece of advice you’ve been given

It’s hard to narrow it down to one piece of advice, but one thing that’s always stuck with me throughout my career is the notion that no one owns the outcome of my career trajectory except for me.  In other words, as much as a
company can help foster your growth, no one except for you is responsible for articulating and pursing your goals – and subsequently holding yourself to the standards that will make success possible.

This advice has helped me stay on top of my short- and long-term objectives and I ensure that each objective has an actionable item attached to it.  That way, when opportunities come up, I can make an informed decision about whether they’re right for me.  Knowing where you ultimately want to be tomorrow can help you feel more confident in taking risks today to get there

Worst piece of advice you’ve been given

Probably that you can “have it all.”  You can – but just not all at the same time.  I think the notion of having it all puts a lot of pressure on women in particular, and as a result, we often try to be too many things to too
many people.

I think the conversation should be about doing less, better. Being more focused, prioritizing, and doing the things deemed most important very, very well.  The onus is on each of us as individuals to set our own guardrails and make deliberate choices about what success looks like.

What would you tell your younger self?

Likely that you won’t necessarily know what you want to “be” when you grow up for a very long time. And even then, it’s more about what do you want to do, and how do you want to be remembered, not necessarily picking a sole career path.

It wasn’t love at first sight for me with public relations.  In fact, I originally had my sights set on becoming a lawyer and even wrote my LSATS as an undergrad.  I eventually decided to pursue PR after being inspired by my mother, who was involved in event planning.

The second thing I would tell my younger self is that one day, you’ll make an effort to speak in front of crowds! This is something that used to be an absolutely terrifying proposition for me.  From a young age, my dad always
encouraged me to be a leader, and I realized that the only way to do that was by doing things that make me feel uncomfortable – public speaking being a major source of discomfort for me.

What excites you most about the future of your industry?

For me, it’s the fact that increasingly, CEOs are recognizing the importance of communications as a strategic business function, which opens up enormous opportunities for us to help them better manage an organization’s reputation,
as well as help them achieve their business objectives.

Who or what is your biggest inspiration?

My kids! They’re teenagers now, but I think they inspire me even more now that they’re on the road to adulthood. They have so much hope and optimism, and I’m inspired to guide them as they formulate their own opinions, take on
new experiences and begin to ponder how they want to choose to live their lives.

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